I received this article from an interested party. This is the complete article from Li I-Yu, not just parts of it.
It says what I tried to say earlier about knowing yourself through PH's practice, only much better than I ever could have hoped to.
ESSENTIALS OF THE PRACTICE OF THE FORM AND PUSH-HANDS
by Li I-yu
as researched by Lee N. Scheele
Formerly people said: being able to attract to emptiness, you can use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds, Not being able to attract to emptiness, you cannot deflect a thousand pounds. The words are simple, but the meaning is complete. The beginner cannot understand it. Here I add some words to explain it. If someone is ambitious to learn this art, he can find some way to enter it and every day he will have some improvement.
Desiring to attract to emptiness and deflect a thousand pounds, first you must know yourself (learned by form and Push Hands) and others (learned by PH). If you want to know yourself and others, you must give up yourself and follow others (Done through PH). If you give up yourself and follow others, first you must have the correct timing and position. To obtain the correct timing and position, you must first make your body one unit. Desiring to make the body one unit, you must first eliminate hollows and protuberances. To make the whole body without breaks or holes, you must first have the shen [spirit of vitality] and ch'i [vital life energy] excited and expanded. If you want the shen and ch'i activated and expanded, you must first raise the spirit (pay attention) and the shen should not be unfocussed. To have your shen not unfocussed, you must first have the shen and ch'i gather and penetrate the bones. Desiring the shen and ch'i to penetrate the bones, first you must strengthen the two thighs and loosen the two shoulders and let the ch'i sink down.
The chin [intrinsic strength] raises from the feet, changes in the legs, is stored in the chest, moved in the shoulders and commanded in the waist. The upper part connects to the two arms and the lower part follows the legs. It changes inside. To gather is to close and to release is to open. If it is quiet, it is completely still. Still means to close. In closing there is opening. If it is moving, everything moves. Moving is open. In opening there is closing. When the body is touched it revolves freely. There is nowhere that does not obtain power. Then you can attract to emptiness and use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds.
Practicing the Form every day is the kung fu of knowing yourself. When you start to practice, first ask yourself, "Did my whole body follow the above principles or not?" If one little place did not follow them, then correct it immediately. Therefore, in practicing the Form we want slowness not speed.
Push hands is the kung fu of knowing others. As for movement and stillness, although it is to know others, you must still ask yourself. If you arrange yourself well, when others touch you, you don't move a hair. Follow the opportunity and meet his chin and let him fall naturally outward. If you feel someplace in your body is powerless, it is double-weighted and unchanging. You must seek the defect in yin and yang, opening and closing. Know yourself and know others: in one hundred battles you will win one hundred times.
I find it particularly telling when Li I-Yu says:
"Push hands is the kung fu of knowing others. As for movement and stillness, although it is to know others, you must still ask yourself."
This complete quote bears out the point of view I was going for pretty nicely.
[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 08-19-2005).]